Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How I Almost Killed my Family on Thanksgiving

***Prepare yourself to be shocked, and to never want to eat over at my house again.***

This was a bad Thanksgiving. I was absolutely trashed. Substituting on my friend's paper route seemed like a good idea at the time. She needed the help, and my boys needed the experience and a little bit of money. It was only four days, how hard could that be?
Never. Again. Ever.

It was awful. We were terrible.

I think we set the record for complaints.
I was a grouchy, emotional zombie, all tied up in knots. Thanksgiving was at my house; all my siblings were in town. I was doing the turkey, dressing, potatoes, jello salad, and cheesecake. Typical of me, I began days and days ahead of time.
Except for the turkey.
I was planning on brining it, but it just didn't happen. Instead, I stuck it in the microwave for about 15 minutes the day before to begin the thawing process. That thawed the skin, and maybe a little deeper, and cooked the place where I forgot the little metal clamp on the bag. After pulling it out of the microwave, I stuck the turkey in the roaster pan with the lid on, handed it over to one of the older boys, and instructed him to put it in the downstairs fridge to thaw.
Thanksgiving morning, I staggered to the kitchen to start my preparations for the big day. It was around 9, and dinner was at 1:30. Shoot! I needed to get that turkey cooking right away! I went to the basement to grab it from the fridge. The blood forsook my face when I found the fridge empty. He must have re-frozen it! I opened the chest freezer and my lips began to tingle. Not there! I ran upstairs, ransacked the upstairs fridge and freezer (as if a 22 lb turkey was hiding behind bags of frozen peas). Nowhere. My turkey was nowhere. I saw spots.
I drug the offending boy out of bed and demanded to know what he did with my turkey.
"Turkey? I never touched the turkey, you just gave me that empty pan to put away. I put it in the storage room."
I swayed on the spot and tried not to get hysterical. I dashed to the room, and found the roasting pan on the ground, lid still in place. I lifted the lid and hefted the heavy pan under his nose.
"You call that empty?!!!"
He shrugged.
"I thought you said to put it downstairs. That looked like a good place."
My mouth opened and shut again several times, no sound coming out.
What was there to say?
My practical mind clunked into place. I turned to Lewis and told him that there was no way I could serve this bacteria-ridden piece of poultry. He insisted the turkey was fine. I consulted google, and no one on google agreed.
I dug deep, and remembered a horrifying story my mom told me about chicken slaughterhouses. According to her, they throw the carcasses in heaps. After they are well on their way to the dust from whence they sprang, the processors throw them in a bleach solutions and pack them for sale. Then off they go to the shelves of our favorite stores.
My mind clung to that idea like a life buoy.
I filled the sink with water, and added a bit of bleach- not enough to kill anyone, but enough to kill any germs breeding in the turkey. I soaked it inside and out. Then I rinsed it like no turkey has been rinsed before.
Then I cooked the crud out of it, and broiled the skin.
Then I served it. With a tremulous smile.
I watched everyone like a hawk.
And only the offending son threw up.
How's that for irony?